Wednesday, March 6, 2024

IWSG and Happy Book Birthday, Forsynthia: Rise of the Cupcakes by Rachel Dinunzio!

It's time for March's IWSG! This amazing group of writers started with Alex J. Cavanaugh and has flourished and blossomed to an inspiring group. It involves so much more than just this monthly hop, too. Special thanks goes to this month's co-hosts: Kristina Kelly, Miffie Seideman, Jean Davis, and Liza @ Middle Passages!

This snuck up on me...again. I seem to have issues keeping track of my days as they flutter on by. Today, I'm sticking to the month's question because it is an interesting one, which I'm not sure a person can even answer yet, since the future holds tons more in this direction.

Have you "played" with AI to write those nasty synopses, or do you refuse to go that route? How do you feel about AI's impact on creative writing?

I have not and, at this time, won't. I'm sure it has it's uses in this area for extra hints and brain-idea-launchers, but I'll admit that I don't know enough about it to really use it yet. I mean, I'm still struggling with our dinosaur internet out here, which has an impressive .85 mg download and .2 mg upload speed. The struggles of living very rural and in a valley without clear sky view.

As a reviewer, I've already been receiving picture books created with AI assistance, and they're pretty easy to spot. So far, anyway. The writing misses that extra spark, which only a writer can bring. It's hard to explain, but AI generated Follows a 'good' format but is just that. Generic. That unexpected human touch isn't there, although I can't really put that into words, either. Let's just say that it's not hard to notice it when you read several hundred books a year. As for the illustrative end...well, don't even get me started. Yeah, I have a huge opinion on computer generated illustrations for picture books just because those authors, who use them, often believe just slapping a picture down is all kids need...which might be true to a certain extent but...ugh! I just want to scream "It's a picture book, for crying out loud! Effort, people. Effort."

Anyway, what are your views on the AI end and writing?


It's time for another book birthday! Today's heads in the graphic novel direction and is the first in a new series aimed at chapter book readers. It appears to head into a fantastical, science fiction direction with tons of humor and a dash of cuteness. 

by Rachel Dinunzio
Paw Prints
Chapter Book Fantasy  /  Graphic Novel
144 pages
ages 7 to 9

In Rise of the Cupcakes , the first installment in a brand new funny and fun-loving early reader graphic novel series, author-illustrator Rachel DiNunzio introduces us to Forsynthia, a young dragon, and her family, and puts them in all sorts of adventures that blend science, fantasy, mystery, and fun. Forsynthia and her little sister Daisy bake their Mom (a scientist for the Secret Magical Bureau) cupcakes for her birthday. But they all get more than they bargained for when a cupcake merges with the magical artifact Mom has been studying and a villainous mega-cupcake forms, multiplies, and then attempts to take over their town of New Harmony! Will Forsynthia and family capture Megacupcake, save mayor Loren, put stop to the chaos, and save the day? 

GOODREADS    /     AMAZON    /    KOBO


Secret science meets magic and dragons in a sweet and quirky explosion of cupcakes and world domination.

Forsynthia enjoys the new home with her mom and sister, especially when her mom's lab from the Secret Magical Bureau is finally delivered. Now, she can watch her mom (and sometimes help out a tiny-little bit) as she researches top-secret magical artifacts. But when one of the latest magical devices accidentally meets the birthday cupcakes met for Forsynthia's little sister, evil cupcakes try to take over the entire town!

Readers who love humor and adventure with a spark of imagination are going to enjoy this one. It packs tons of quirky twists and shoots off into non-serious fun, and that while trying to save the world. Forsynthia is a sweet, young dragon, who gets along with her younger sister and mother very well. There aren't any negatives whatsoever in this direction, which offers a snuggly, family warmth the entire way through. But then, with evil cupcakes on a rampage, unexpected heroes like Forsynthia need this solid basis because they have enough to do with trying to save the town.

The illustrations are bright and bold, and remain on the simpler end, while still delivering the emotions, tension, humor, and a touch of cuteness. They fit well to the age group with imaginative characters and positive color tones. The text is bold and placed on the background to meld with each scene. It pushes reading skills more than I expected but is playful enough not to scare off more reluctant readers. It's cute, adventurous, definitely quirky, and promises tons of adventure to come.


Miffie Seideman said...

I'm floored that picture books have been created with AI and your statement sums up al my feeling about that: "It's a picture book, for crying out loud! Effort, people. Effort." The fact you can still readily recognize an AI book for an organically, human-written book is comforting, at least for now. Thanks for the great post!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Someone else talked about the writing being flat. I don't want to read a story without real heart.
Your Internet is scary slow...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

If they are already doing picture books, full length novels are coming soon. If they aren't already here.

Liza said...

I am in agreement that we need depth and nuance for a good story, and I'm not sure AI can be there yet. I do feel afraid that maybe someday it will get there though.Congratulations to Rachel. The story sounds adorable.

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's too bad that you're receiving Al-generated picture books to review and that you can spot how they were written. I've used Al for my job to help write my articles, but I wouldn't even let it help me write a novel.

emaginette said...

I've learned that kids have higher standards than most adults. They'll see through AI generated art or prose in a heartbeat. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Tonja! How sad to think that AI is being used to illustrate children's picture books! But not surprising. I'm sure if there was a way to screw up with AI, I'd find it. I get into enough trouble with technology as it is. I"ll just keep on writing my own pieces, good or bad; at least they're mine.